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How Deep do you Plant Bulbs?

Updated on March 12, 2013
Spring Daffodils should be planted between 4 and 10 inches deep depending on the size of each individual bulb.
Spring Daffodils should be planted between 4 and 10 inches deep depending on the size of each individual bulb. | Source

Bulbs can provide a colorful, transient appeal to any garden.

The following is a table of depths for planting various Spring, Summer and Autumn flowering plants which are propagated by bulbs, corms, tubers or rhizomes.

All figures express the depth where the soil makes contact with the bottom of the bulb, corm, tuber or rhizome when positioned upright in the planting hole.


Table Of Bulb Planting Depths

Plant
Planting Depth (cm)
Planting Depth (inches)
Family: Amaryllidaceae
 
 
Giant Onion (Allium giganteum)
20
8
Golden Garlic (Allium moly)
10
4
Small Alliums (Allium)
5-10
2-4
Belladonna Lily (Amaryllis belladonna)
12
5
Snowdrop (Galanthus)
9-12
3.5-5
Amaryllis (Hippeastrum)
5-9
2-3.5
Peruvian Daffodil (Ismene)
4
1.5
Leucocoryne (Leucocoryne)
15-18
6-7
Snowflakes (Leucojum)
9-13
3.5-5
Hardy Amaryllis (Lycoris)
12-14
5-5.5
Daffodils / Jonquils (Narcissus)
10-25
4-10
Nerine (Nerine)
5-6
2-2.5
Fairy Lily / Storm Lily (Zephyranthes)
5
2
Family: Araceae
 
 
Angel Wings (Caladium)
2.5-4
1-1.5
Bog Arum (Calla)
15
6
Family: Asparagaceae
 
 
Glory-Of-The-Snow (Chionodoxa)
10-12
4-5
Galtonia (Galtonia)
10
4
Spanish Bluebell (Hyacinthoides hispanica)
8-15
3-6
Hyacinth (Hyacinthus)
15-20
6-8
Grape Hyacinth (Muscari)
4-12
1.5-5
Star-Of-Bethlehem (Ornithogalum)
8-10
3-4
Tuberose (Polianthes tuberosa)
10
4
Puschkinia (Puschkinia)
8
3
Squill (Scilla)
7.5-11
3-4.5
Triplet Lilies (Triteleia)
4
1.5
Family: Asteraceae
 
 
Dahlia (Dahlia)
10-15
4-6
Family: Begoniaceae
 
 
Tuberous Begonias (Begonia × tuberhybrida)
1.5-4
0.5-1.5
Family: Cannaceae
 
 
Canna Lily (Canna)
15
6
Family: Colchicaceae
 
 
Autumn Crocus (Colchicum)
12-15
5-6
Family: Iridaceae
 
 
Montbretia (Crocosmia)
10
4
Crocus (Crocus)
4-12
1.5-5
Freesia (Freesia)
6-7.5
2.5-3
Sword Lily (Gladiolus)
8-14
3-5.5
Bearded Rhizomatous Irises (Iris)
2.5
1
Bulbous Irises (Iris)
10
4
Netted Iris (Iris reticulata)
10-12
4-5
Dutch Iris (Iris tingitana x Iris xiphium)
10-20
4-8
Corn Lily (Ixia)
5-10
2-4
Harlequin Flower (Sparaxis)
5-7.5
2-3
Tiger-Flowers (Tigridia)
8-11
3-4.5
Family: Liliaceae
 
 
Kaiser's Crown (Fritillaria imperialis)
12-20
5-8
Checkered Lily (Fritillaria)
8-10
3-4
Base Rooting True Lilies (Lilium)
19
7.5
Stem Rooting True Lilies (Lilium)
20-25
8-10
Early Hybrid Tulips (Tulipa)
13-18
5-7
Late Hybrid Tulips (Tulipa)
18-22
7-9
Botanical Tulips (Tulipa)
10-12
4-5
Family: Ranunculaceae
 
 
Grecian Windflower (Anemone blanda)
12
5
Anemone (Anemone)
4-7.5
1.5-3
Winter Aconite (Eranthis)
5-12
2-5
Buttercups (Ranunculus)
5-9
2-3.5
Grape hyacinth should be planted between 1.5 and 5 inches deep depending on the size of the bulb.  Grape hyacinth bulbs with multiply rapidly and quickly colonize a new area they are planted into,
Grape hyacinth should be planted between 1.5 and 5 inches deep depending on the size of the bulb. Grape hyacinth bulbs with multiply rapidly and quickly colonize a new area they are planted into, | Source

General Bulb Planting Tips


Depending on the species, the depth of planting can cover quite a broad range due to the size of the individual bulbs being planting and the characteristics of the soil they are to be planted into.

As a general rule bulbs should be planted three times deeper than they are tall, although this rule won't apply perfectly to all species.

If planting into heavy clay soils bulbs should be planted closer to the surface (at the minimum of the recomended depth provided), bulbs planted too deeply in heavy clay may have difficulty emerging and may even extend all their energy and die before the leaves are able to penetrate the surface.

Bulbs planted into very sandy soils should be planted at the maximum recommended depth, as sandy soils are unable to hold onto moisture for very long and are more prone to drying out near the surface.

Bulbs planted into a good quality, loamy soil should be planted at about the midpoint between the maximum and minimum planting depths with smaller bulbs being positioned higher than larger bulbs.

Bulbs planted deeper will be more protected from the extremes in temperature experienced nearer the surface, as the soil above them provides insulation against both excessively hot and cold weather.

Do you have bulbs planted in the ground at home?

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Onions, a bulb that everyone's familiar with.
Onions, a bulb that everyone's familiar with. | Source
Onions, a bulb we're all familiar with.
Onions, a bulb we're all familiar with. | Source
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